The iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Comic Book

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

One of the sillier features of our modern legal system is the fact that the bloated, incomprehensible, and unreadable documents purporting to set forth the "terms and conditions" (or "terms of service") for the use of much of the software, and many of the Internet services, we all use on a daily basis actually have legal effect, on the preposterous grounds that users have "consented" to them when they click "I Agree" or the equivalent.

The Apple iTunes terms and conditions are a classic example—56 pages (single-spaced) of mind-numbing prose. When I was presented with it a few days ago, while attempting to access the iTunes store, and asked to consent to its revised terms, I did what everybody does—I said "yes" without having the slightest idea what any of its terms were. That those terms—whatever they might be—are actually legally binding on me because I have consented to them is a ridiculous fiction. (And not a harmless one, as it so distorts the very notion of what "consent"—a word that is freighted with deep significance throughout the law—actually means.)

The graphic artist R. Sikoryak has now put all 20,000+ words into comic book form – with each page drawn in the style of a different classic comic book artist.

A sample page from "iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel" (drawn in the style of Chris Claremont and John Byrne) by R. Sikoryak

It's a very clever piece of work (though my guess is being a comic book aficionado—I'm not one, as it happens—would increase one's appreciation for Sikoryak's skills). (Jacob Brogan, over on Slate, has a nice piece about it). Coming soon, I would hope: The iTunes Terms and Conditions Opera . . .

[Thanks to Josh Kershenbaum for the pointer]